Best Practices for Running PostgreSQL in Docker Containers

Pankaj kushwaha
2 min readMar 21, 2023

Running PostgreSQL in Docker containers is a popular choice for developers and administrators due to its flexibility, scalability, and ease of deployment. To make the most out of this setup, follow these best practices:

  1. Use the official PostgreSQL Docker image: Always use the official PostgreSQL Docker image available on Docker Hub. This ensures you are working with the latest, stable, and secure version of PostgreSQL.
  2. Data persistence and storage: Mount a volume from the host system to the container’s data directory to ensure data persistence across container restarts or removals. This helps avoid data loss and makes backups easier to manage.
  • docker run -v /path/to/host/directory:/var/lib/postgresql/data ...
  1. Manage container resources: Set resource limits on your PostgreSQL container to prevent it from consuming excessive host resources, using the --memory and --cpus flags:
  • docker run --memory=2g --cpus=2 ...
  1. Set environment variables: Configure your PostgreSQL container using environment variables like POSTGRES_PASSWORD, POSTGRES_USER, and POSTGRES_DB. Avoid hardcoding sensitive information in Dockerfiles or scripts.
  2. Use a separate container for each database instance: Deploy each PostgreSQL instance in a separate container to achieve better isolation, security, and easier management.
  3. Use Docker Compose for multi-container setups: If your application requires multiple containers, including PostgreSQL and other services, use Docker Compose to manage the entire stack. This simplifies container orchestration and configuration.
  4. Keep container images up to date: Regularly update your PostgreSQL container image to benefit from the latest features, security patches, and bug fixes. Test your application with the new image before deploying it in production.
  5. Use custom configuration files: If you need to modify PostgreSQL’s default settings, provide a custom postgresql.conf file and mount it to the container's configuration directory:
  • docker run -v /path/to/custom/postgresql.conf:/etc/postgresql/postgresql.conf ...
  1. Then, update the POSTGRES_CONFIG_FILE environment variable to point to the custom configuration file:
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  • docker run -e POSTGRES_CONFIG_FILE=/etc/postgresql/postgresql.conf ...
  1. Secure connections: To ensure secure communication between your application and the PostgreSQL container, consider enabling SSL/TLS encryption. You can achieve this by providing the necessary SSL certificates and modifying the postgresql.conf file to enforce SSL connections.
  2. Monitor container performance: Use monitoring tools like docker stats or third-party solutions to keep track of the PostgreSQL container's resource usage, response times, and query performance. This helps to optimize performance and troubleshoot potential issues.

By following these best practices, you can run PostgreSQL in Docker containers efficiently and securely, ensuring a reliable and robust environment for your applications.

Thank you for Reading this.



Pankaj kushwaha

Database/System Administrator | DevOPS | Cloud Specialist | DevOPS